Clarity event at Gerkin


I had dinner last night with maybe not the father of this blog at least of one its not so distant forbears. Phil Rose (see photo above), CEO of Clarity Leadership, invited me to one of his Executive dinners at the Gherkin building. It was an event that Phil’s firm ran years ago which featured a reading of ‘The Race’ which stuck with me and become the very first post of this blog venture.

The centrepiece to the evening was the Harvard Business Review article by Jeffrey H. Dyer, Hal B. Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen titled “The Innovator’s DNA”. My favourite part of the piece was the advice in the “Discovery” skill of “Questioning” – ”“Embrace constraints.” …

  • “Most of us impose constraints on our thinking only when forced to deal with real-world limitations, such as resource allocations or technology restrictions. Ironically, great questions actively impose constraints on our thinking and serve as a catalyst for out-of-the-box insights. (In fact, one of Google’s nine innovation principles is ‘Creativity loves constraint.’) To initiate a creative discussion about growth opportunities, one innovative executive in our study asked this question: ‘What if we were legally prohibited from selling to our current customers? How would we make money next year?’ This led to an insightful exploration of ways the company could find and serve new customers. Another innovative CEO prods his managers to examine sunk-cost constraints by asking, ‘What if you had not already hired this person, installed this equipment, implemented this process, bought this business, or pursued this strategy? Would you do the same thing you are doing today?’”

We’re faced such a dilemma in Piero on a regular basis. In order to achieve those striking effects which look like they are painted on the scene being filmed requires the computer to find certain things in the picture that it can interpret. But what happens if those things aren’t there? For starters, most of the algorithms assume (a) some item in the shot of known dimension, and (b) a flat plane (no problem with sports fields and courts). But what about calculating a distance in a picture where there are no easy measure references and no flat planes. We are working on developing effects for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games and measuring things like height of jumps for snowboard racing, trick ski jumping and half-pipe boarding would need these. The demands have forced the development guys to really tear apart our assumptions and seek entirely new ways of dissecting the video picture. Stay tuned!


The call for “great questions” evoked Seth’s recent post ‘Question the Question’

  • “The best creative solutions don’t come from finding good answers to the questions that are presented.  They come from inventing new questions.”

The evening was filled by lots of great questions last night illuminated as brightly by the assembled acumen as by the summer sun streaming in the sky high windows.